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Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. plans to provide ambulance service

June 30, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — It’s taken nearly three years, but the Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. is about to launch the first ambulance service in its coverage area, Fire Chief Mike Mood told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday.

Mood asked the five-member board to join Independent Fire Co., Jefferson County Fire and Rescue Association and Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency in endorsing the Middleway volunteers’ new ambulance service.

“This will provide an advanced life support unit to our department,” Mood told the commissioners. “It will aid residents in need of emergency medical service in our run area by reducing response time as well as be available for the rest of the county when other ambulances are out on calls.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to add their endorsement.

Mood said the new ambulance service will help his department in its general operations budget through EMS billing.

“It will also help us pay for the fire station that we are about to begin construction on as well as help us update the aging equipment that we currently run,” he said.

The Middleway fire company is the county’s newest. It was organized in September 2008 to cover Middleway and surrounding areas that were formerly covered by the Citizens and Independent fire companies in Charles Town.

“The area is growing so we needed a quicker response time,” Mood said.

The company covers Leetown along Old Leetown Pike through Summit Point to the Virginia line, west to Berkeley County and East to Darke Lane, then south to Virginia.

Last year, the fire company responded to 135 calls.

“It was projected to be from 90 to 110 calls,” Mood said.

The company’s 17 active volunteers run calls with five pieces of firefighting equipment, including two pumpers. One is a 1979 model, the other a 1985. It has a 1986 tanker, a 1988 rescue unit and a 1994 utility vehicle. Four months ago, they obtained a 1997 ambulance.

The company’s annual budget is $123,000, Mood said.

He said the company hopes to break ground later this summer for its first firehouse on a five-acre tract on Old Leetown Pike across from Hinton Road about a half-mile south of Middleway.

“It’s pretty centralized in our response area,” Mood said.

Construction costs are pegged at $700,000, most of which will be borrowed from a local bank.

The company currently houses two of its five trucks in donated space in a garage. The other three are parked outside, Mood said.

Before he moved to the southwest part of the county, Mood was a fire captain with the Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Co.  

Patsy Noland, county commission president, said after the meeting that ambulance service is badly needed for residents in the Middleway and Summit Point areas.

“It will cut the response time for that area,” she said.

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